More on the Lake Lacar creature. In my post Another Creature at Lake Lacar, I mentioned that I was trying to obtain more information on Mr. Barney Dickinson's sightings. I have been very fortunate indeed and have been able to get in touch with Mr. Dickinson's daughter Janet. Mrs. Janet Dickinson has been very kind and replied to my e-mail in depth. Below I copy some of the main parts of her reply (thank you very much Mrs. Dickinson for your cooperation.
Dear Mr. Whittall [...] I attach extracts of a letter written by my father, Barney Dickinson, to Maurice Burton D.Sc., printed in his book “The Elusive Monster”, published by Rupert Hart-Davis in 1961, which is an analysis on the so-called myth of the Loch Ness Monster.
Page 94 – I also recieved a letter from Mr. Barney Dickinson, which read:
‘I live in the north-western region of the Southern Andes, in the Argentine National Park of Lanín, named after the highest mountain here, an extinct volcano some 12.450 ft. high. My house is situated at the eastern end of, and about 800 ft. above, a long, fjord-like lake called Lake Lacar. The lake is large, surrounded by high mountains and over 100 fathoms deep.’
Mr. Dickinson told of his habit of frequently scanning the waters of the lake with binoculars, and of often seeing:
‘strange water formations... that I cannot account for, though I have been looking at the waters of the lake for fourteen years now. This is especially the case when the lake is calm; so calm, in fact, that the surrounding mountains are reflected with extraordinary clarity. There is relatively little traffic on Lake Lacar, and on such days any boat, or any of the aquatic birds – as well as rising fish – leave unmistakable disturbances on the glassy surface. The extremely few aquatic animals of any size – it is said that a species of otter still survives here, though I have not yet seen one – can be ruled out, I think... Nevertheless, from time to time, there appear queer-looking turbulences...
For hundreds of years the Auracanian Indians who inhabit the area have believed in a strange monster which they call the cuero, from its resemblance to a cowhide, their most familiar object for comparison.
More interesting is the belief prevalent among the gaucho-type non-indian herd riders that a cuero lived in Lake Lacar. I myself have met several serious-minded men of this first-rate type who claim to have seen the cuero ...They affirm that it is like a large hide which seems to float in a hump-backed manner on the water, though only just visible above the surface...always at eventide.
The Auracanian braves also speak of it as an animal, which they call el bien peinado (the smooth-headed one) and they tell of strange tracks found on the shore of the lake, and on one occasion of ... scattered pieces of skin, fur and feathers; apparently the remains of animals and birds which had been eaten by some unknown beast... there are other more imaginative versions of this legend in which el bien peinado is half-man, half-serpent.
NB: Dr. Maurice Burton claims in his book ‘The Elusive Monster’ that these strange apparitions seen in the lakes of Scotland and elsewhere are possibly due to rotting vegetable matter that comes to the surface, but there remains room for doubt...J.D.
I once again thank Janet Dickinson for sharing this information with me.
Regarding the Bien Peinado myth, yes, I had heard about it, and posted about this Culebrón or snake-man at Lake Nonthue (which is connected to Lake Lacar's western tip by a narrow and short channel). I agree with Janet, the bien peinado and the cuero are quite different beings.
Also, the rotting vegetation is a reasonable explanation but -once again in agreement with Mrs. Dickinson - there is certainly room for doubt.
Patagonian Monsters - Cryptozoology, Myths & legends in Patagonia2010 International Year of Biodiversity Copyright 2009-2010 by Austin Whittall ©